Sometimes we don’t want to change ourselves very much. Imagine that you’ve just left your cardiologist’s office. He or she has told you that you have to make some changes. Your blood pressure and cholesterol levels are way over the limit. Your diagnostic tests reveal the diagnosis: coronary artery disease.
Besides surgery or medication is there anything to do to lower the chance of having a heart attack or stroke? The answer is yes, as long as you are on board with some changes, how often you exercise, how much you weigh, and what you eat.
Inside we resist lifestyle change even if we know we have to. We just want to do what we want to do, eat what we want to eat. The question comes, what will I have to learn to change? What if I fail? It’s uncomfortable to think about.
Carol Dweck, Ph.D of Stanford University has published research about the growth mindset towards difficulty or change. She says, “Success comes from learning and practicing strategies that work.” Having a persistent mindful approach to learn and grow promotes success.
What if setbacks happen? Instead of beating yourself up, Carol suggests this approach: What can I learn from this? What will I do next time when I’m in this situation? What habits must I develop to continue the gains I have achieved? Guilt, shame and anger are toxic to the heart, so forgive yourself and move on. The better you begin to feel, the more you want to keep doing it.
Adopting a heart healthy lifestyle is a learning process, and doesn’t have to be a battle between the bad you and the good you. You need support or else changes can go away faster than they appeared. Persistence and confidence in the effort create a reward that spurs you on to make more changes.
Nigel Holmes’ diagrams the “Fixed and Growth Mindset”. Here is a link that provides a summary.
When change for your health is necessary, consider it an opportunity. It’s worth the effort, not just to live longer but to live better!